OTTAWA: Canadian police scoured Saskatchewan and neighboring provinces on Monday in a major manhunt for two fugitives suspected of carrying out a stabbing spree that killed 10 people and wounded 15. The killings in the James Smith Cree Nation Indigenous community and the town of Weldon in Saskatchewan are among the deadliest incidents of mass violence to ever hit the nation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "shocked and devastated by the horrific attacks", adding in a statement that Canadians are mourning this "tragic violence".
Some of the devastation was described in local reports and social media posts. Weldon resident Diane Shier told the daily Saskatoon Star Phoenix her neighbor, a man who lived with his adult grandson, was killed in the attack. The grandson reportedly hid in the basement and called police. "It was about 7:30 am. My husband was in the garden. He saw police cars and an ambulance come to town. It's a little town. This is terrible, terrible. We've still got our doors locked, staying inside, not going out," she told the newspaper.
Fellow town resident Ruby Works said the killings would haunt the town. "No one in this town is ever going to sleep again. They're going to be terrified to open their door," Works said. Another resident, Robert Rush, said he had left his granddaughter at home to go buy a birthday cake for his wife. "I gave her two guns and a bat," he said. Police have released few details of the crimes, except for descriptions of the alleged attackers they say fled in a vehicle. They have been identified as Myles and Damien Sanderson, aged 30 and 31 respectively, both with black hair and brown eyes.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore told a news conference on Sunday that authorities believe "some of the victims were targeted by the suspects and others were attacked randomly". "To speak to a motive would be extremely difficult at this point in time," she added. No information has been released about the victims.
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron lamented "the unspeakable violence that claimed the lives of innocent people". In a statement, he blamed "harmful illegal drugs (that) invade our communities" for the destruction. Blackmore said "maximum" police resources were deployed for the search for the suspects, but their whereabouts and "direction of travel" were not known.
Thirteen crime scenes in the Indigenous community and Weldon were being combed for clues and a massive manhunt across three provinces was underway. Regina police chief said his force was coordinating with the RCMP after sightings of the suspects in the province's capital. "We still believe the suspects are likely in the city of Regina," he said in a video posted online overnight. - AFP